All created equal?

We hear a lot about equality these days. We are reminded that our Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. President Obama, in his second inaugural address, indicated that we should not just be equal in the eyes of God but in each other’s eyes as well. Certainly we should all be treated equally under our laws and should respect one another equally as human beings (until, that is, we have reason to alter our judgment). But should our political leaders be striving to make us equal as economic units?
Anyone who has recently bought a roll (coil) of stamps from the post office has seen successive stamps each with an American flag on it with one of four slogans. “Justice Forever” (check); “Freedom Forever” (check); “Liberty Forever” (a bit redundant, but ok, check); and “Equality Forever,” (What, wait a minute, really?).


For all our protestations, do we really favor equality? The President and his progressive allies want to redistribute wealth from those who have it to those who don’t. Despite the fact that achieving this equality would be virtually impossible, what would it be like? If we all had identical wealth, which of us would hire another? Total equality would produce a form of stasis.

(Stasis (from Greek “a standing still”) may refer to:

• A state of stability, in which all forces are equal and opposing, therefore they cancel out each other)


Isaac Newton taught that an object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. Economically speaking, the unbalanced force consists of inequality of wealth and resources. Mississippi has more rice than New Jersey, but New Jersey has more cranberries. As the French say, “Vive la différence.” It is inequality that motivates and energizes commercial activity.

Despite the efforts of some who want to stop keeping score, our sports actually celebrate inequality. We want to know who runs faster, jumps higher, or lifts a heavier weight, etc.  We are soon to watch Superbowl XLVII. Imagine if all players on both sides were equal to their counterparts in all aspects of the game: equal in training, speed, strength, athleticism, motivation, etc. Such players should all be paid exactly the same salary, right? None of them would be more worthy than any other of making product endorsements. And most telling of all, who would tune in to watch the inevitably dull game that would ensue?

When it come to equality, be careful what you wish for. You might get it.


© Dwight Boud 2013






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